High School in Reflection

For our Scripps Ranch High School column this year, four seniors shared the writing duties. We want to thank them for giving us “A Look Inside” SRHS and life as a teen in Scripps Ranch. We congratulate Taylor Williams, Quinn Gorham, Docean Park, and Tyler Tran on their graduation and wish them the best of luck in the future. This month Taylor takes a look back at her high school days.

 

What can I say about high school that hasn’t already been said? There are a million and one movies and TV shows depicting the high school experience, casting 30-year-old actors back into the world of 15 and awkward. What is it about being a teenager that is so glamorous to Hollywood producers? It can’t be the braces. Or the bangs. Or the acne—which so conveniently never plagues any of the actors playing the role of a teen.

Maybe it’s the idea of a beginning. When you’re in high school you begin the task of creating an identity for yourself. Now no longer a middle schooler and utterly hopeless, you begin to slowly form your own opinions and let your mind expand to absorb lessons thrown at you, in and out of the classroom. Here is where you experience many “firsts”…and, therefore, many mistakes.

What’s unique about high school is the concentration of young people who judge others and, most harshly, themselves. Being in an environment where everyone is hyper-aware of others’ actions and personalities, as well as his or her own, can create a crippling need for teenagers to not stand out. This fitting-in survival mode, thankfully, fades with time, yet I couldn’t say ever fully evaporates from a teen’s mind.

Although I’m not as worried about how others perceive me as a high school graduate compared to as a freshman, I still don’t plan to do anything to attract too much attention. I wonder how this mentality will carry on into college and beyond. Are adults more forgiving in their judgements? Or does the attitude of high school transpose with each of life’s new settings?

Although making the transition from the K–12 program that has filled up the entirety of the average 18-year old’s life is unfamiliar and daunting, the process of ending high school felt like closing the chapter of a textbook that I had finally finished. Now I can read the book I actually want to read, the first book of a hopefully long series of inevitable plot twists.

I can understand why many students were sad about high school ending, about this familiar book coming to a close, saying goodbye to all the characters they’ve come to love. But for me, and I’m confident for many others, ending high school is a huge relief. Yes, I said goodbye to friends I will no longer see every day and to teachers who have positively influenced me, but I also said goodbye to the pain, trials, and tribulations of the past four years. High school was not the glory days—18 forever is not something I want to be.

Despite how different each student is and how our lives these past four years varied, we shared one literal common ground: a high school campus. Roughly 2,200 random souls tethered to one place, we’re bound to have similar experiences and hopes and dreams and outcomes. But similar does not mean identical.

High school is anything but a universal experience. We may have sat in the same seat as a hundred students before us, taken notes on lectures a teacher had given to five other classes, or ate lunch at the same time as the entire student body, but the growth over the course of four years is entirely our own. We forget that we are first people and second students.

I am completely different from who I was at the start of high school. Isn’t that the goal? To change over time.

Transmogrification is a gift.

However high school, teenagehood, and the past four years may have treated me, it did change me. For that I am grateful, but I am also ready to say goodbye.

2017. The summer after my senior year. I’ve graduated. It is all finally over. High school, this is what I’ll remember you by. Goodbye.

Taylor Williams, SRHS Class of 2017